Candleston Castle, Mid Glamorgan
Merthyr Mawr, Bridgend
Merthyrmawr Road, Off A48
The name Candleston is probably derived from the de Cantelupe family who built a fortified manor house here in the later 14th century. Surrounded by the huge sand dune system of Merthyr Mawr, over time the lands of the manor later became covered with dunes and thus valueless.
Candleston Castle was built upon a promontory of land overlooking the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes and it is probable that there was originally a small harbour near the site. It consisted of a D-shaped courtyard enclosed by a substantial curtain wall. A two storey hall range occupied the eastern side. A tower, consisting of a vault on the ground floor and a solar on the level above, were added shortly after on the southern end of the hall.
This is a fabulous little castle, one of my favourite ruins in all of South Wales to explore. A walk round the interior discovering its fire places, kitchen area, windows and solar, you get a real sense this was a luxurious fortified home.
It's very easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen as the lords in their finery return home.
Access to the castle is very easy as its located next to a pay and display car park, for walks in the woods and enormous sands dunes.
~ History ~
1093 ~ Norman advances across South Wales continue across Glamorgan.
1100's ~ The lands of Candlestone are granted by Robert Fitzhamon, Baron of Gloucester, to one of his followers, Herbert de St Quentin.
Over time the Norman Cantelupe family become the appointed tenants.
1320's ~ John de Cantelupe builds a stone castle, replacing the earth and timber ringwork fortification.
1468 ~ Candleston passes into the hands of Richard Cradock. He is later appointed constable of Caerphilly and Kenfig castles.
1491 ~ Richard Cradock is appointed acting steward of Gower.
1500 ~ Major rebuilding work is undertaken at the castle with the Hall Range built to improve accomodation.
1600's ~ Further modification are made to the castle.
However, the shifting sand dunes have started to have a serious impact on the surrounding agricultural lands and its value. The wealthy owners of the castle rarely visit.
1808 ~ The last occupation of the castle ends when Sir John Nichol leaves upon completion of his new mansion house at Merthyr Mawr.
The castle is sold and used by its new owners as a farm house.
By the end of the century the castle is abandoned forever and allowed to drift into ruin.